22nd October | Thekla
It’s difficult to believe Yellow Days – the stage name of George Van Den Broek – is only age 19. He croons with maturity and has such a comfortable openheartedness nestled in his voice that he seems miles ahead of his peers. It’s slightly George Ezra-ish, but without the boppy guitars or kitsch, radio-friendly singalongs – leaning more towards King Krule, but without the super-hipster edge. Instead, his distinct brand of bedroom indie is dreamlike, echoing back to the early days of Mac Demarco with an added splash of soul.
But the hazy sounds of Yellow Days are not as happy-go-lucky as his contemporary counterparts like Rex Orange Country or Cosmo Pyke. Instead, his anti-pop is drenched in melancholy and confrontation, among the teenage heartache, difficult thematic conceits. He forces a frankness about mental health, reminding himself and his audience “you have to keep going”.
His R&B-inflected alt-rock has already caught the attention of rising hip-hop star Rejjie Snow (who featured on Yellow Days’ debut LP Is Everything Okay In Your World?) and established megastar Childish Gambino, aka Donald Glover. The Surrey rocker’s ‘Gap in the Clouds’ soundtracks the season two trailer of Glover’s acclaimed TV series Atlanta, which he writes, executive-produces and stars in; it’s clear Glover found an affinity with the taste of neo-soul both artists share.
If, like Childish Gambino, Yellow Days has earwormed his way into your affections, you’ve stumbled across a bit of bad luck. His Bristol show at Thekla is completely sold out, as have most of his US tour dates; but don’t be blue – you can catch him elsewhere across the UK and Europe if you act quickly enough.
See the video for ‘The Way Things Change’ here: